Ruthin School

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Ruthin School
Ruthin School main building.jpg
The main building of Ruthin School. The 1980 extension is to the left of this picture
Established c. 1284
Type Independent day & boarding
Location Mold Road
LL15 1EE
Coordinates: 53°07′02″N 3°17′59″W / 53.1171°N 3.2997°W / 53.1171; -3.2997
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Visitor HM Queen Elizabeth II

Ruthin School is one of the oldest public schools in the United Kingdom. Located on the outskirts of Ruthin, the county town of Denbighshire in North Wales, the school is over seven hundred years old and has been co-educational since 1990.


Choir Practice

On the school webpage, the principal, Mr. Belfield said, "The Independent Schools' Inspectorate report was very favourable and commented most positively on not only the academic achievements, but also the demeanour and positive attitude of the pupils." [1]

In the 2013 A Level results, 60.23% of grades attained by students at the school were A* or A. The school is ranked 79th among all UK independent schools by the Telegraph,[2] and 13th among all co-educational boarding schools by the Best-Schools website.[3]

According to the 2014 Estyn inspection report, English and mathematics at key stage four is well above the Wales' average, and percentage of year 11 students achieving the level 2 threshold is also above the Wales' average. A* to C grades awarded for GCSE entries has improved and increased steadily for the past few years. Sixth Form students are at well above the Wales average at level 3, achieving good results in their A levels.[4]

The school is a fee-paying school with pupils from foreign countries as well as local children. The state school Ysgol Brynhyfryd is across the road.



Biology Dissection

Ruthin School was founded in the wake of Edward I's conquest of Wales. Whilst the precise date of the foundation is not clear, in his history of the school "Ruthin School: The First Seven Centuries", Keith Kenyon-Thompson suggested that 1284 was the most likely date and Reginald de Grey the most likely founder. In any event it is clear from the Taxatio of 1291 that there was a flourishing collegiate church and school at Ruthin.

Evidence of Ruthin School in the subsequent centuries is sparse. Surviving documents such as a Confirmatio of 1314/1315 which recognised the existence, rights and liberties of "collegio de Ruthin fundato per Reginald de Grey" indicate the existence of the School but nothing more is known of the size of the establishment.

Following Owain Glyndŵr's attack on Ruthin in September 1400, it appears that the collegiate church and presumably also the School continued to function unscathed until the dissolution of the former in 1535. Thereafter evidence for the School's continuation is sketchy at best, but it is certain that in 1561 the tithes of the sinecure of Llanelidan were applied to the use of the School, which indicates that the pupils at that time would have been from local homes.


In 1574, Gabriel Goodman, the Dean of Westminster an Old Ruthinian, built a two-storey, limestone building to house the school in the shadow of the Church. The School appears to have prospered and in 1595 Dean Goodman successfully petitioned Queen Elizabeth I to grant the tithes of Llanelidan to the School in perpetuity.


Following its refoundation, the School quietly but surely prospered. It educated the sons of local gentry, including the Grosvenor, Kenyon and Trevor families. The success of former pupils such as Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon and Sir John Trevor sometime Master of the Rolls and Speaker of the House of Commons, testified to a successful regimen of instruction.

Twentieth century[edit]

Pupils traditionally play sports such as this cricket match, 28 April 2007.

In 1893 the school moved from the shadow of the Church to a building designed by John Douglas on its impressive site on the eastern outskirts of the town. In 1923 Lord Kenyon opened the Memorial Cricket Pavilion to honour those Old Ruthinians who had died during the Great War.

As the century progressed, the demand for places increased and so in 1949 Bishop Wynne House was inaugurated. Just over a decade later, a new School hall comprising a refectory, kitchens, classrooms, and a theatre were constructed.

Expansion continued and in 1971 a preparatory department was established in the former Archbishop Williams' house. The quatercentenary of the School's re-foundation was commemorated by the launch of plans for the construction of a new wing consisting of dormitories, a music room, classrooms, locker rooms and other facilities, plans which culminated in 1980.

The School's septcentenary was commemorated by a visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the School's Visitor, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on 16 March 1984 when a clock in the central tower was unveiled.

On the hundredth anniversary of the School's re-location, the Hall was further extended and in 2006 the Hewer Hall, a sports facility, was opened by The Princess Royal.

The Principal, Toby Belfield, caused controversy in May 2015 when he questioned the merits of a bi-lingual education, stating in a letter to the Denbighshire Free Press that whilst "tradition and heritage are important - but much more important is to ensure that we do not reduce the opportunities available for Welsh children." His claims that bilingual education was educationally 'weaker' than in England and abroad was derided in social media as a step back to the 1800s and drew comparison with the use of the 'Welsh Not' in the 19th century.

Sovereign's Visitatorial Rights[edit]

The Sovereign is the Visitor of Ruthin School whose rights have traditionally exercised by the Lord Lieutenant.

Old Ruthinian Association[edit]

The Old Ruthinian Association consists of former pupils of Ruthin School. The Association, whose patron is Sir William Gladstone, Bart., K.G., was founded after the First World War and gathers for its annual meeting on the Saturday of Remembrance Weekend at Ruthin Castle.

Distinguished Old Ruthinians[edit]

Headmasters of Ruthin School[edit]

  • (1291) Henri le mestre.
  • (1310) Urian.
  • (1334) Adam.
  • (1353) Nicholas de Bletchley.
  • (1391) Gethin.
  • (1455) Walter Honte.
  • (1496) David.
  • (1512) John Greysley.
  • (1535) John Strynger, M.A.
  • (1541) Hugh ap Ieuan.
  • (1564) Sir Richard Thelwall.
  • (1568) William Morgan.
  • (1574) John Price, M.A.
  • (1581) High Goodman, M.A.
  • (1584) Richard Parry, M.A. (later Bishop of St Asaph; reviser of Morgan's Welsh Bible).
  • (1593) John Davies, D.D.
  • (1595) Richard Powell.
  • (1599) Robert Griffith, B.A.
  • (1607) Gabriel Parry, M.A.
  • (1609) Lewis Lloyd, M.A.
  • (1615) John Jones, M.A.
  • (1626) William Langford, M.A.
  • (1650) William Jones.
  • (1653) Thomas Chaloner.
  • (1655) Henry Price, M.A. (Peter D.G.Thomas in Politics in Eighteenth Century Wales (1998), says Price "resigned his post rather than take an oath of allegiance to the Hannoverian dynasty".)
  • (1691) John Lloyd, M.A.
  • (1695) Robert Morgan, D.D.
  • (1705) John Williams, M.A.
  • (1714) John Wynne, M.A.
  • (1724) Richard Edwards, M.A.
  • (1731) Thomas Vaughan, M.A.
  • (1739) Thomas Hughes (great-grandfather of Thomas Hughes of Rugby School).
  • (1768) William Parry, M.A.
  • (1785) John Walters, M.A.
  • (1789) Thomas Roberts, M.A.
  • (1795) David Hughes, M.A.
  • (1800) Edward Jones, M.A.
  • (1831) Owen Owen, M.A.
  • (1831) Charles Williams, M.A. (Later Principal of Jesus College, Oxford).
  • (1839) Edward Barnwell, M.A. (Editor of Archaeologica Cambrensis).
  • (1865) William Freeborn, M.A.
  • (1871) George Preston, M.A.
  • (1875) William Mills, M.A.
  • (1881) Rev. W.P. Whittington, M.A.
  • (1909) J.J. Williams, M.A.
  • (1913) E.W. Lovegrove, M.A.
  • (1930) M.H. Phillips, M.A..
  • (1936) J.R.T. Russell, M.A.
  • (1967) A.S. Hill, BSc.
  • (1985) F.R. Ullmann, M.A.
  • (1993) J. Rowlands, BSc
  • (2010) Toby Belfield, M.A.[6]


Girls Boarding

Pupils are currently accommodated in one of four boarding houses - Ellis House, Wynne House, Gladstone House, and the recently renovated Goodman House.

Each boarding house has a resident Housemaster/Housemistress and an assistant Houseparent. The staff look after the pupils in the evenings, at weekends and in the half-term and Easter holidays, regularly arranging trips out, House Barbeques and Movie Nights. The Houseparents take full responsibility for the pastoral care of the pupils in their house.

A full-time residential qualified nurse is employed by the school to advise boarders regarding medical issues. The school doctor also visits weekly to hold a surgery for boarders if further consultation is needed. All boarders are surrounded by an English-speaking environment, during class, around town and throughout the school day, which helps their English communication skills.

Wireless Internet is provided in each boarding house so that the boarders can communicate with friends and family using a variety of social networking sites. However, these sites are closely monitored by the members of boarding staff. [7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ www.ruthinschool website; accessed 11/06/2014
  2. ^ [1]; The Telegraph website; accessed 11/06/2014
  3. ^ [2]; Best-Schools website; accessed 11/06/2014
  4. ^ Estyn Inspection Report; accessed 11/06/2014
  5. ^ Cholerton, Moira. "Elias Owen (son of Elias)". Owen children. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Williams, John (11 January 2010). "Appointment of new Principal". Ruthin School. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  7. ^

Kenyon-Thompson. A History of Ruthin School.  (claimed as a source for much of this article)

External links[edit]